Patient satisfaction surveys. You send them out, you get them back, you glance at the results, you either feel really great or not so great, and then you’re done. Right?
That’s pretty much what providers who use patient surveys end up doing, which — to be fair — is already a step ahead of those who don’t use them at all. But if you’re going to implement something into your practice, why only do the bare minimum? You made the decision to use patient satisfaction surveys for a reason, so why not take full advantage of the potential benefits? At the end of the day, it’s all about providing the best quality care; and patient surveys are the perfect tool to point you in the right direction.
Great! Glad you’re onboard. Let’s get started!
What Patient Satisfaction Surveys Can Do for Your Practice
Whenever devising a plan of action, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and reassess why you’re doing it in the first place. We already know that it’s to help you provide quality care, but that can mean anything really. Let’s get more specific.
Admit it. You think you’re great. There’s nothing wrong with being confident in your abilities — in fact, I highly encourage it. But sometimes our egos can get in the way of our ability to objectively assess our own performance. Having an outside eye who, if we’re being perfectly honest, probably couldn’t care less about your feelings, can shed some deep insight into what’s really going on at your practice.
Identify Opportunities for Growth
In a perfect world, you would get all perfect scores… but this is not a perfect world. Chances are you’ll occasionally come across less than hot feedback. Hopefully, giving those patients an outlet to be heard through patient satisfaction surveys will dissuade them from posting a negative review online. Patient surveys are also the most efficient way to quickly look for recurring issues that need to be addressed. With the correct questions and reporting, identifying opportunities for growth can be incredibly easy.
There are few things better than receiving a really kind and genuine compliment from somebody. Patient satisfaction surveys can provide that feeling for you and your staff every day! Just imagine the feel good vibes that will be floating around your office. Nothing like an extra pep in your step to boost productivity (and get even more positive feedback)!
What To Do With the Data Collected
Now that we understand why it’s important to gather this data, it’s time to address what to do with it.
Squash that negative feedback before it hits the web
When looking for a survey platform, it’s good practice to choose one that will automatically notify your staff in real time as soon as a less than stellar result is submitted. This will provide the opportunity for you to reach out to the disgruntled patient and rectify the situation before they get a chance to yelp it, tweet it, shout it from the rooftops, etc.
Read all of the results
I know this may come as a shock, but doctors are very busy. Crazy. I know. That makes it very tempting to just skim through the results and just get the gist of it. But if that’s what you’re going to do, what’s the point of doing patient satisfaction surveys at all? If all you want is a surface level understanding of how patients feel about their experience with you, just ask them. If you’re asking your patients to take the time to give you feedback, you (or someone in your office) should take time to actually read it. The details of what they say are what’s going to provide the most value.
Have a non-manager look over results and present a report
In conjunction with the objective feedback about your practice, you’ll also need an objective interpretation of the results. The easiest way to get this is to have someone with few stakes in the business. Because of the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, some of the feedback can feel quite personal. In order to avoid the temptation to discount potentially valid points due to that pesky ego, it’s best to have a third party evaluate the results and provide a clean and condensed report of the findings. It’ll also save the doctor some much needed time.
Look for patterns in results
Once there is an easily digestible report, look for patterns. Are there any recurring issues? Are any of them easily addressed? Which ones need immediate attention?
You have a report, you’ve identified the opportunities for growth, now it’s time to take action. Make a plan for how you’re going to address each of the issues that came up. It’s good practice to set a timeline and stick to it. Discuss progress on your plan (and new growth opportunities that might have come up) regularly at practice management meetings. This should be done at least quarterly, even better if it’s every month.
Communicate with your patients
You’ve done it! You listened to your patients and you’re taking action to provide them with the absolute best quality care. Don’t you want them to know that? Send out an eblast or postcards to let your patients know of the improvements you’re making to your practice. Not only will it make them feel heard and understood, but it’ll also help keep you accountable for your promises. Win-win!
And just like that you have an easy-to-follow and repeatable plan to manage all of that wonderful information you’re gathering from your patient satisfaction surveys! All that’s left to do is reap the rewards.